228835 - Eyesight: Testing (Answered)

Liz Kendall
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many free sight tests were provided on the NHS to people aged (a) under and (b) over 60 in England in each of the last five years.

George Freeman

The table below shows how many National Health Service funded sight tests were provided in England to people aged over 60 and to other eligible groups in each of the last five years.

2009/10

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

Aged 60 and over

5,191,773

5,305,177

5,537,930

5,480,711

5,562,847

Other eligible groups

6,619,878

6,633,352

6,767,797

6,858,542

7,224,583

Total

11,811,651

11,938,529

12,305,727

12,339,253

12,787,430

Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre

Free sight tests on the NHS are available to certain eligible groups including people aged 60 and over, children under 16, those aged 16-18 in full-time education, people on low incomes and defined categories of people at particular risk of developing eye disease.

Some individuals may qualify for an NHS sight test on more than one criterion. However, they would only be recorded against one criterion on the NHS sight test form. Patients are more likely to be recorded according to their clinical need rather than their age. For example, a patient aged over 60, with glaucoma is likely to be recorded in the glaucoma category only. The count for those aged 60 and over is therefore an approximate figure and may slightly underestimate.